The Cherry Blossom

Cheryl Clayton Atkins

The Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation was created in honor of Cheryl Clayton Atkins, whose childhood nickname was “Cherry Blossom.” Her death from breast cancer and her wish that her husband would work to make life better for those who followed her, were the motivations for the formation of the Foundation. In 2006, her husband and some of her friends began their breast cancer effort.

In our first three years, we were part of Middleburg’s Piedmont Community Foundation and concentrated our fundraising in Middleburg with Nanette’s Walk, a two-mile breast cancer walk. The event honored Nanette Hewitt White, a beloved civic leader of the Middleburg community, who lost a ten-year battle against breast cancer. Grants from the proceeds were made in Leesburg, Middleburg, Warrenton and Georgetown to organizations helping women fight breast cancer.

In late 2009, we decided to expand the fundraising beyond Middleburg to Leesburg and to Fauquier’s county seat of Warrenton. We realized this significant growth would be better accomplished in a standalone nonprofit foundation. Thus, in November 2009, the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The IRS granted us status as a 501(3) Public Charity, effective November 2009, so that all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by IRS regulations.

The expansion is centered on simultaneous Walks, Fun Runs and Pooch Prances for breast cancer among other events during the year. Over the past years we have held the event in Leesburg, Middleburg, and Warrenton. In 2012 Ashburn replaced Leesburg and we moved the Middleburg location to Foxcroft School whose girls have been very enthusiastic supporters of the Foundation. 

All events are named “Cherry Blossom Walks, Fun Runs and Pooch Prances for Breast Cancer." Conducted during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Walks’ net financial objective is to raise $300,000, 100% of which will be awarded to Northern Virginia charities and nonprofits for breast cancer detection, treatment and education.

The Foundation’s three-year objective is to raise and grant $1,000,000.